The early years (up to 1952): a childhood around motorcycle racing, apprenticeship with Vincent, then racing a Vincent Grey Flash.
Getting established (1953–55): Moving on to ride mainly Manx Nortons, he did 86 races in one year, and in 1955 achieved his first grand prix win, in the 250cc Ulster GP on an NSU.
The glory years (1956–60): dominating top-level motorcycle racing for five years with Italian team MV Agusta, taking seven World Championship titles on 500cc and 350cc bikes.
The remarkable year of bikes and cars (1960): overlapping his last year of motorcycle racing with 17 car races, including four F1 World Championship events, the second of them – the British GP – bringing a second place with Lotus.
Ferrari driver (1963–66): established in cars, he joined Ferrari, winning his first race – the Sebring 12 Hours for sports cars – and the following year becoming F1 World Champion.
CanAm champion (1966): after recovery from a huge crash in a Lola T70 sports car and acrimonious departure from Ferrari, he bounced back in North America to win the spectacular CanAm series.
Turning Japanese (1967–68): Honda invited Surtees to develop and drive its F1 cars, with a two-year programme in which victory in the Italian GP at Monza – Ferrari territory – was the highlight.
Becoming a constructor (1970–78): going into single-seater racing, including F1, with Team Surtees and cars of his own manufacture; good results in F1 were sparse but Mike Hailwood won the European F2 Championship in 1972.
The latter years (1978 onwards): fully active on the historic scene as a restorer and driver of motorcycles and cars, then nurturing son Henry’s career until the tragic accident.
He has known John Surtees since the 1980s, when their shared passions for matters on both two and four wheels ensured a continuing friendship. The pair collaborated on a series of Racer Tests of exotic motorcycles for Classic Bike, and more recently Mike has been writing magazine and newspaper articles about John’s extraordinary life, and his work in developing the Henry Surtees Foundation.
Mike is the co-author of The World’s Business Cultures, and How to Unlock Them, now in its third edition, with cultures expert Barry Tomalin. He is passionate about most things with a Latin touch, including the Spanish and French languages, Latin music and Spanish and Latin-American literature and history.
He supports the charities Centrepoint, which helps disadvantaged young people to get a fair start in life, and the Henry Surtees Foundation.